MAY 21

Connecting and Collaborating across the UK Academic-Policy Landscape

Hosted by University of York

Latest news: Updated agenda timings & announcement of panel

Visit the subcommittee fringe events using the navigation bar

Location & Accessibility

Main Hall, The Courtyard, Guildhall, Coney St, York YO1 9QN

Please visit this website for accessibility information


We are pleased to announce the agenda for the UPEN Conference 2024. Please note due to speaker availability timings may change slightly.

9.30-10.00 Arrivals and coffees

10.00-10.15 Co-Chair Opening Talk & Welcome from York Policy Engine

10.15-11.00 Opening Keynote: Kersten England CBE, Bradford Culture Company

11-11.30 Networking Break

11.30-13.00 Panel on Place-Based Policymaking joined by Juliet Jopson (Leeds), Rich Pickford (Nottingham Trent), Emily Morrison (TBC), Jon Gleek (Doncaster Council). Chaired by Bec Riley (Birmingham, City-REDI)

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.20 Facilitated table discussions (ARI’s, POST KEU, CAPE, UPEN).

15.20-15.25 Break

15.30 -16.15 Closing Keynote from Hannah White, OBE

16.15-16.30 Co-Chair Closing Talk

Opening Keynote

Kersten England CBE

Kersten has held many roles in both the public and private sector over her career, including and until recently, Chief Executive of Bradford Council since 2015. She now holds voluntary positions including Chair of the Young Foundation, Chair of the Bradford Culture Company, Trustee of the National Literacy Trust, President for U3A Bradford and Canon of Bradford Cathedral. Kersten will talk about her 28 years in local government and the role of place and region within academic-policy engagement.

Closing Keynote

Hannah White OBE

Hannah White OBE is the Director of the Institute for Government, leading the institute’s work to make government more effective. She is a regular commentator on the radio and television, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News, Times Radio and International broadcasters. With a PhD in human geography, Hannah started her career as a parliamentary clerk in the House of Commons, holding multiple roles and leaving in 2014 to join the Institute for Government. Hannah also serves as Deputy Chair of trustees for the public participation and deliberation charity, Involve.

Hannah will be discussing the IfG and its' role in the academic-policy landscape, in particular over the coming year.


In this summary report, written by UPEN Members, Vice-Chairs and Volunteers and Conference Speakers, we take you through the day of the conference as it happened. Alongside this, we have collated reflections from audience members, and the UPEN Co-Chairs.

Over the past 5 years, UPEN has grown from a small and convivial group of like-minded people into an extensive community that brings together individuals from over 120 universities and other organisations. Now incorporating academics, research students, impact officers, and knowledge exchange professionals, alongside many others, we have developed from not quite knowing how to describe the work we do, to having an established lexicon with which to articulate our diverse roles as knowledge mobilisers.

This year’s annual conference, held at the University of Birmingham, showed us what a vibrant community UPEN has become. It illustrated, far better than we could ever describe here, the value of UPEN’s convening function: A packed hall of knowledge mobilisers all working at the academic-policy interface, reflecting honestly and openly on their challenges, triumphs, and ambitions for the future.

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